Thursday, June 24, 2010

Thoughts on the Role of Technology in Education by Alison Prescott.

  This video was  made by Alison Prescott. It is a great look at our education system - past and future. Thank you Alison for all you do for kids and teachers.  We are so glad you are a part of our pilot. 
Click on the date below.
Then click on the arrow.


Length: 2:20

Monday, June 21, 2010

End of the Year Data Collection!

On June 10, 2010, I published a year end report on year two of the Maine Literacy and Technology Pilot.  Today, I would like to post some reflections and observations on those results.   These are thoughts from my perspective.

Looking at guided inquiry and the requirements for integration and collaboration, the elementary classrooms appear to incorporate these elements on a daily basis.  It seems to me that this would be the most fertile environment for integrating literacy and technology.  This logic is further supported by the elementary school's focus on acquiring literacy.  This rationale needs to be considered.

One of the most crucial pieces of data regards the lack of information literacy being taught in all classrooms.

There are many reasons for this.  Mostly, in my opinion, it has to do with the amount of time required for teaching guided inquiry - as well as the philosophical foundation - co-constructivism.  In many instances, it is almost impossible to mesh the current school curriculums and required assessments with this philosophy.

There are many varieties of inquiry practiced.

Guided inquiry - according to Caspari, Ann, Kuhlthau, Carol, Maniotes, Leslie (2007), Guided inquiry, learning in the 21st century.  Westport, Connecticut: Libraries Unlimited - includes all of the elements necessary for students to learn how to process information in the 21st century in an objective, intelligent manner.  It has its foundations in the Big 6 - listed above - but has evolved beyond this starting point.

Participants in this study, are practicing strong meta-cognitive strategies and students are embedding them in their thinking.  This instructional format requires a type of co-construction - just not as time consuming as guided inquiry. 

During year three, we will look at guided inquiry with a focus on collaboration and essential questions based on the Maine Learning Results and school curriuculum. 

Next year will be an exciting one.  Stay tuned!

Friday, June 11, 2010

Day 2 of Guided Inquiry in the 21st Century!

On June 8, we met for our second class session of Guided Inquiry in the 21st Century at UMF.  It was a great class!  Our focus so far has been on inquiry teams and units.  The model we are using requires collaboration between teachers.  Most team members are participating in the class, but some have other members.

One, if not the, key component in inquiry - teacher delivery and student participation - is collaboration - specifically collaborative reasoning as defined by Reznitskaya and Anderson 2002.

“Collaborative Reasoning has a format that is useful for deepening conceptual understanding.  Collaborative Reasoning discussions do not foster reading consensus.  Instead, this discussion model requires students to seriously consider multiple perspectives on a text they have read and then engage in a thoughtful dialogue.  The discussions have an open participation structure; that is, students are expected to communicate freely.  According to Richard Anderson, “Reasoning is fundamentally dialogical.  Thinkers must hear several voices within their own heads representing different perspectives on the issue.  The ability and disposition to take more than one perspective arises from participating in discussions with others who hold different perspectives.”

Mercer, 2000, targeted collaborative reasoning as the key component for assisting learners in developing their ability to create, what he refers to as, “inner thinking” - around any information they are accessing (Graves (1990) labeled “the other self”).  This inner thinking leads to effective collaboration – without it, collaboration often dead ends resulting in no new ideas.  Here collaboration means forming new ideas - not concensus.

This type of thinking is necessary for the information flood our students - and all 21st century digital citizens - will need in the 21st century.

Kuhthlau, along with the authors of the BIG 6, identify the process of objective, diverse thinking as the biggest challenge for information problem solving (collaborative reasoning).  

As part of our focus on collaborative reasoning, we have partnered with the Jakarta World Academy in Jakarta, Indonesia.  Tuesday, we skyped with the principal, Bruce Ashton, and began to put a plan together for the upcoming year.  We hope to reflect on our own collaborative process in order to clarify our teaching of collaborative reasoning for students.  This is a relatively new area and we are eager to share what we learn and start a dialog with others.

The last part of the day, we networked with each other and compiled a list of internet resources for use in our projects.

WOW!  It was incredible.  It's as if each teacher is a synapse in this huge brain and we are connecting - formulating these new understandings and ideas!  

Stay Tuned!